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iOS 11 launches on September 19th with augmented reality, drag and drop, and more

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A pretty huge step for iOS releases

Apple’s newest mobile operating system, iOS 11, will be released on September 19th, right alongside the new iPhone 8 and 8 Plus.

We’ve actually known what to expect from iOS 11 for a while now, as Apple originally showed off the mobile OS back in June at the company’s developer conference. It’s one of the biggest upgrades to iOS in years, and all that stuff we already knew about is still here: Siri translations, Apple Pay in iMessage, split screen mode on iPad, drag and drop, ARKit, a brand-new control center, Do Not Disturb mode while driving, screen recording — the list goes on.

But today we learned about even more features that are coming to iOS 11, especially on the iPhone X. While we knew about some from the HomePod firmware leak, there are a few that were totally brand-new. Let’s take a look:

Face ID

Absolutely one of the biggest changes to iPhones going forward is the removal of Touch ID on the iPhone X. In its stead, Apple is using a combination of infrared cameras and 3D depth sensing technology to recognize a user’s face, or what it’s calling Face ID. Face ID will be used to unlock the phone, authorize Apple Pay payments, and serve as a replacement for all the other parts of iOS that use Touch ID.

Animated Emoji

Of course, all that depth sensing technology (and ARKit hanging out at the system level) isn’t only going to be put to practical use. One of the ways Apple is going to try to make some fun with this new tech is animated emoji, or “Animoji,” a new feature in iMessage where emoji can mimic your facial expressions, thanks to the same sensors that power Face ID. You’ll be able to send these to friends inside iMessage, though the phone will also save them as video files that should be shareable elsewhere.

Portrait lighting and selfie modes

Apple briefly showed off a new spin on portrait mode called “portrait lighting,” available on the iPhone X and 8 Plus, which uses the depth information from the dual cameras to simulate professional lighting setups on a subject. “These aren’t filters, this is real-time analysis” of the light on your subject's face, Apple exec Phil Schiller said. That hopefully means it will be more subtle than, say, the beauty effects in Samsung’s native camera app. But, like Portrait Mode last year, Portrait Lighting is launching in beta, so don’t expect it to be perfect.

The iPhone X is also getting a front-facing portrait mode, thanks to the depth sensing tech on the front of phone, meaning you can now take selfies with the same kind of blurred background made available by the regular portrait mode.

New gestures

iOS 11 has some new gestures in store on the iPhone X. Control Center is now accessible by a swipe down from the top right of the phone. And with no home button, you’ll now have to swipe up from the bottom to go back to the home screen. Swiping up and pausing will bring up the multitasking view.